A Minnesota mayor recently received a reduced sentence from 60 days in jail to three days of community service, following an arrest for drunk driving. The man struck two cars while driving in the Minneapolis metro area on Interstate 394 before being stopped by police. Having avoided incarceration the mayor should be able to continue to perform his duties, and according to a report in the Star Tribune does not intend to step down.
The mayor was also fined $100.00 for having an open alcoholic beverage at the time, a bottle of vodka. The drug test on the scene registered him as having a blood alcohol level of 0.24 but the official test while he was in custody showed a level of 0.12. The legal blood alcohol limit in Minnesota is 0.08.
When asked to explain his behavior, the Minnesota mayor cited various severe problems that had occurred in his life, including several deaths in his family (including two murders) and an upcoming business trip that was causing an elevated level of stress and concern.
The judge hearing the case remarked that she sees a great deal of first time drunk drivers in her court only once – most are too scared or embarrassed to attempt to drive intoxicated again, explaining her reduced sentence.
Many arrested for drunk driving are not repeat offenders who have been arrested and brought into a court room before, rather it is often the first serious interaction with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. It is important to clearly understand your rights, the charges against you, and the potential consequences that can go beyond just the sentence from the court.
Source: Star Tribune “Mankato mayor avoids jail time” Abby Simons, April 5, 2011